Author Spotlight: P.M. Hernandez

Today’s Author Spotlight is: P.M. Hernandez

 – A writer of YA paranormal, fantasy, and science fiction!


***

P.M. Hernandez

Readers, let’s welcome to my blog, P.M. Hernandez. She lives in Virginia but travels the globe, finding inspiration in the colorful, mysterious, and sometimes spooky corners of it. Also, check out more about her writing at http://www.pmhernandez.com, and explore a a world where gargoyles take flight, aliens visit Earth, and magic is real.

She’s agreed to visit and share with us today some dreams, some advice, and some reading recommendations.

P.M., thanks for agreeing to be here today. Most interviews start off with bios and such, and while I’ll get to that, let’s start with the important stuff!

If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?

Definitely a dragon. You can ride them. They’re great protection. They excel at gathering and hoarding valuable objects. You’d save money on heating your house. What’s not to love?

You’re right in line with Zoe, from last week! I’ll just repeat my warning that I gave her. Many are sentient. Who would be the pet and who would be the owner?

What do you write and how did you get started?

I mostly write YA paranormal, fantasy, and science fiction. I say mostly because my editor told me my latest series is NOT young adult, or at least, only recommended for 16 and above. Who knew I could be so dark? Ha!

I got started the same way a lot of other authors did. I’ve been writing most of my life. Pretty sure my first book was for a middle school project. I wrote and illustrated a children’s book about a teddy bear. My first published book came out in 2016.

Exactly what I love and read. Now I’m curious about that teddy bear book. Is it available on Amazon? *winks*

What do you like to read?

I love anything paranormal, fantasy, or science fiction. That’s my jam. But sometimes, I break out into contemporary or historical fiction, or even non-fiction. I don’t discriminate, but I also am quick to set aside a book that isn’t thrilling me because my TBR pile is HUGE.

Doing something about my to-read pile is definitely something I’m working on this year. I’m not great at setting aside books, though. Maybe I should practice.

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you.

“Write what you know”

I have no idea who said it first, but clearly, that person didn’t write high fantasy. I’m willing to admit, though, that there’s a kernel of truth in it. All the best made-up stuff has a touch of the real world. Otherwise, how can we connect with it? So in that sense, we’re writing about what we know, just adding trolls and magic and whatnot.

Once again, you’re agreeing with last week’s author. AND! Giving the very same caveat I gave. In far fewer words. I’m right there with you.

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that they can’t pry out of your cold, dead hands.

Writing is a lonely hobby.

Writing isn’t the solo affair we think it is. We need people, and not just friends or family who will lie to us and tell us everything we write is gold.

We need people in our lives who’ll tell us difficult things and help us get better at our craft. Some of your writing circle will eventually be friends; others will be professional contacts.

Never think you’ve arrived, that you can’t learn anything new; your writing tribe will help you be a continual learner.

Everyone is a resource.

As an ambi-vert who runs several writer support groups, I’m a huge fan of finding your support people. There surely are SOME people out there who do fine solo, I just don’t know any of them (which, I’m sure is the point).

Shameless self-promotion.

I have a new science fiction series coming out this year.

It’s kind of a departure for me. Dark and Bright is my take on Frankenstein, if the monster were a teenage girl and the doctor had access to modern tech. The book is available for pre-order now, and will come out on February 1.

Fortunately, if you like it, you won’t have to wait long!

Book two, Darkening Night, will release in May. Book three, Blazing Light, will release in late fall.

Both the Dark and Bright Series and the Whitewood Journals (YA paranormal) are in Kindle Unlimited.

My YA science fiction series, Earthborn, will be in KU soon.

And finally…you can meet me in person at Roanoke Author Invasion (April 2019 in Roanoke, VA), Penned Con (September 2019 in St. Louis, MO), and Royal Book Bash in the DMV (October 2019 in Woodbridge, VA).

Advertisements

Author Spotlight: Zoe Ashwood

Today’s Author Spotlight is: Zoe Ashwood

 – A debut supernatural romance writer!


***

Zoe Ashwood

Readers, let’s welcome to my blog, Zoe Ashwood, a translator by day, a romance writer by night, and a reader always. Her stories feature grumpy men, kickass heroines, and lots of kissing.

She’s agreed to visit and share with us today some dreams, some advice, and some reading recommendations.

Zoe, thanks for agreeing to be here today. Most interviews start off with bios and such, and while I’ll get to that, let’s start with the important stuff!

If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?

If I could have any pet, I’d have a dragon. No, seriously. It would cut down on travel time significantly, I could have it scare my enemies (or eat them if need arose), and also dragons are wicked smart, so I could learn loads.

As I am occasionally a BookWyrm, in all my red scaley dragon glory, I’ve gotta agree that Dragons are pretty awesome. Just be wary. Many are sentient. Would the dragon be the pet, or would you be ITS pet?

What do you write and how did you get started?

I write paranormal romance, though I have a couple of contemporary romances stashed deep in my computer. I used to write diaries and really bad teenage poetry, then sort of stopped when I was studying English at the university (go figure!), then started again after I’d been blogging about books for a couple of years. I participated in one NaNoWriMo and that was it!

I don’t write romance, but paranormal romance and I became good friends years ago. Except the studying English bit, that sounds like my background and entry into the writer’s life.

What do you like to read?

I read mostly romance and fantasy these days. I’m not particular about the genre of romance – paranormal, contemporary, historical, sci-fi, pretty much anything goes. I love fantasy for its endless creativity and imagination – I read both adult and YA books. Bonus points if there’s kissing involved! I also read a lot of children’s books because I have two kiddos (4 and 2 years old).

I definitely read my fair share of paranormal romance – and straight fantasy, too.

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you.

“Write what you know”

I don’t like “write what you know.” If that was a good piece of advice, fantasy wouldn’t exist. And the world would be a sad, sad place without fantasy.

I know I’m being literal, but in this day and age (ie the age of Wikipedia and Google), there’s really no limit to what you can write about. My research has included searches about black bear eating habits, revolvers, Canadian national parks, exsanguination times for arterial wounds, and NYC diners. I had zero to little knowledge about those, and yet I wrote books with those elements (the success of those books is still undetermined, haha).

Ah, this bit of advice is, by turns, both complete bull and the truest bit of advice. You might not know black bear menus and how long it takes to bleed out, but all of us are people. But. You write love stories and that’s something most of us want to be able to share with someone else. The events and settings might be beyond reality, but the people and the emotions behind the motivations are the same in your stories as they are for people you know in the real world.

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that they can’t pry out of your cold, dead hands.

Outline your stories!

It’s a controversial topic, as not everyone’s brain works the same, but writing without an outline terrifies me. I tried it (for that first NaNoWriMo) and ended up with 50,000 useless words that had to be dumped. I’ve never been happier than when I realized I could prepare for writing beforehand. I write faster and cleaner drafts when my outlines are detailed.

I’m a plantser myself. My outlines are pretty loose and mostly ignored until I get stuck, but provide a good compass for when I’m starting out.

Shameless self-promotion.

I’m super bad at shameless self-promotion. But if you’d like a free shapeshifter novella, you can get one by signing up for my newsletter. And I’m most likely to be found on either Instagram or Facebook these days.

My debut novel, Trust the Wolf is out on January 24 – I hope you’ll give it a try! You can also find it on Goodreads. Here’s the blurb!

A shirtless white young man looks to the ground beside him. In the background, a wolf stands just behind where he is looking among the trees. The trees foliage is red for high fall and the sky is overcast, with a slight brightness peeking through, suggesting daytime. At the bottom, it reads: "Trust The Wolf" by Zoe Ashwood

You never forget your first wolf.

Emilia’s first encounter with Jason is memorable: it’s not every day you see a stranger change into a wolf. Her attraction to him is undeniable, but the secret he shares shakes the foundations of her life.

Jason’s need for Emilia unnerves him. It’s his job to report shifters without proper ID, yet he can’t make himself do it this time. The decision bites him in the tail when he discovers exactly who she is. He must keep his distance—or there will be hell to pay.

Their fates entwine when rogue shifters learn of Emilia’s identity and will stop at nothing to get to her. Emilia and Jason will have to fight together or risk losing everything.

But most of all? Emilia must learn to trust the wolf.



Author Spotlight: RobRoy McCandless

Today’s Author Spotlight is: RobRoy McCandless

 – An award winning urban fantasy writer.


***

Readers, let’s welcome to my blog, RobRoy. Born under a wandering star that eventually led him to life as a writer both professionally and creatively. He’s the author of the urban fantasy TEARS OF HEAVEN, winner of the 2014 Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Preditors & Editors Readers Poll, and a 2015 EPIC eBook finalist with HELL BECOMES HER and THE CLOCKWORK DETECTIVE (available 2019).  His shorts have appeared in IN SHAMBLES (with Kevin J. Anderson) NINE HEROES, and GEARS, GADGETS AND STEAM.

He’s agreed to visit and share with us today some dreams, some advice, and some reading recommendations.

RobRoy, thanks for agreeing to be here today. Most interviews start off with bios and such, and while I’ll get to that, let’s start with the important stuff!

If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?

From my old gaming days, I was always intrigued by the idea of an animal companion, one that provided some degree of communication and mutual safety. I’d want a big cat—either a cheetah or a tiger, but I wouldn’t mind a dire wolf or some other canine variant

Oooh, a mind-talking, predator cat? I’m a fan, too.

What do you write and how did you get started?

Fantasy, urban fantasy, and most recently steampunk are my preferred genres, although I’ve dabbled in a bit all genre fiction.

I’ve always been an avid reader, starting way back when a family friend gave me a copy of THE HOBBIT. I was so floored by it, that I immediately rode my bike down to the local book store and bought everything else by Tolkien. I had no idea I was getting the seminal fantasy series of all time. Later, I devoured anything even remotely fantasy-related, but when the stories didn’t meet my desires and expectations, I started writing my own.

I might not write urban fantasy or steampunk, but I DEFINITELY read them. I’m always in awe, hearing of people discovering genre fiction. With my parents, I can’t remember NOT reading (or having it read to me). So glad you found it and fell in love.

What do you like to read?

I’ll read anything with a strong character-driven narrative and a bit of fantasy or science magic. Most recently, I’ve been eating up cyberpunk novels, a genre movement I missed when I was more interested in fantasy.

There’s a movement to retell some of the classic horror stories from different views, like Victor LaValle’s THE BALLAD OF BLACK TOM which is great.  Even more recently, my wife gave me a book club membership for Christmas, so I’ve been reading some very interesting things like THE CLOUD ROADS by Martha Wells.

I admit to a bias for character-driven novels as well. Thanks for the recommendations!

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you.

“It’s doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction.”

Jonathan Frazen

I respect the hell out of Franzen, and of course he’s in a much better position to lecture, but I love my internet connection, allowing me access to research and expects that years ago a writer could only dream of.  I appreciate the ability to post up a question in a social media group and get a dozen responses in as many minutes.

Not all of them may be useful, but there’s usually a handful that will meet the needs.

Ah, the internet. The biggest source of distraction a writer can have — and the biggest resource a writer can have. Research and writing support at the click of a button. I’ve got to agree with you, it’s a mixed bag, with only self-control being the deciding factor.

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that they can’t pry out of your cold, dead hands.

Beta readers. I’ll come back from the grave for my beta readers. I have a dedicated core of people, most of whom aren’t writers. Their advice is beyond measure, and I won’t release a word without it passing them first.  They’re worth their weight in gold, and I wish that I could give them that ten times over.

Thank you!

Oooh! Good choice. Beta readers and critique partners are a key part of my process and I don’t think we’re the only ones.

Shameless self-promotion.

Banishing demons is only slightly more daunting than raising a pre-teen. All things considered, Del has it pretty easy these days. She takes her orders, does her job, and goes home to kiss her daughter Jordan goodnight.

But when Jordan is kidnapped, Del learns the world is even more dangerous than she believed.

Lost in the deserts of Northern Nevada, confronted with myths and legends thirsty for her blood, Del may have to fight an entire army to get her daughter back.

She’ll pull down the pillars of Heaven is that’s what it takes.

HELL BECOMES HER is Book 2 in the FLAMES OF PERDITION series


AUTHOR LINKS

Amazon | Barnes & Noble |iTunes | Goodreads | Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter


Author Spotlight: Dawn Husted

Today’s Author Spotlight is: Dawn Husted

 – A writer for both young adults and women writers, and the owner/operator of the independent press Yaupon Berry Press.


***

Picture

Readers, let’s welcome to my blog, Dawn. Writer, publisher, and small business owner. She’s agreed to visit and share with us today some dreams, some advice, and some reading recommendations.

Dawn, thanks for agreeing to be here today. Most interviews start off with bios and such, and while I’ll get to that as always, let’s start with the important stuff!

If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?

I’m a huge animal lover, but I’d love furball Crookshanks (from Harry Potter) as a pet! His face is adorable and he’s smart too.

I like a person who knows not only what type of pet but which one they want! Very decisive. I should have expected nothing less from you.

What do you write and how did you get started?

I write in various YA genres, and I recently released a non-fiction “how to write” book for aspiring, female authors. Surprisingly, the series that jumpstarted my passion for writing is Twilight.

I know, I know. I can hear all the grumbles from other writers, but I was never a huge reader prior to 2008. My friend suggested I read those books, and as soon as I started, I couldn’t put them down.

Soon after that, I dove into writing some really terrible stories that should never see the light of day. It took a couple of years for me to learn how to write better!

I’m a huge fan of YA myself, so I’m always happy for more writers there.

NOTE: Long-time-readers of this blog should be familiar with my smack-down of Twilight bashing, but for the rest of you: there are tons of popular authors with more questionable books than you find Twilight, but instead of being judgemental, as a librarian’s daughter, I see popular books as gateway drugs.

What do you like to read?

I mostly read YA (sci-fi, paranormal, contemporary, dystopian, etc.), however, I enjoy an Adult book every so often. I also enjoy reading a good memoir, such as Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Currently, I’m reading Imposters by Scott Westerfeld

Ohh! They sound pretty solid, so I’ll have to look those up. Glad you still make time for your reading. I know it can be hard when there’s always the internal (and/or external) pressure on you to write-edit-market.

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you.

Advice: “Let the chapters be however long your story needs them to be.”

I’m not a fan of that advice. I’m extremely strategic when I begin writing a new book. I like to have a word count for each chapter so that I can target an overall word count goal for the whole book. By the time I finish writing, I’ll toggle with chapters as I revise, but I like the chapter length to remain consistent.

A plotter! I’ve done some editing to make my chapter lengths more congruent. But! I’ve read advice that short chapters read faster–both literally and figuratively–so I often add more breaks in my more action-packed chapters, for both cliffhangers and pacing. As a reader, though, I do appreciate even chapters. It makes it easier to figure out how much book is left on my kindle.

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that they can’t pry out of your cold, dead hands.

Outlining

I enjoy outlining my books prior to writing them. If I don’t outline, my stories stray into dead ends and stop making sense.  

A-ha! I knew it. I’m a shameless plantser, but I do understand the appeal.

Shameless self-promotion.

In 2018, I filed with the county and opened a small, independent press: Yaupon Berry Press. Since then, I’ve released two books and will be opening an online shop for female writers that includes many products with the empowering phrase: Wordy Woman. I want these items to inspire women in the industry by giving them a way to display their writerly confidence to the world.

You can get an early sneak-peek at the Wordy Woman products (prior to the official grand opening on November 1st) HERE. (And here’s a 15% off discount code: WEEKDAYTREAT).

Plus, in February 2019, I’m speaking as a nominated panelist at Teen BookFest by the Bay, so stop by if you live near Corpus Christi, TX! My books are located on my website.

Girl Gone Ghost: A Psychological Thriller by [Husted, Dawn]
Girl Gone Ghost by Dawn Husted (YA Psychological Thriller)
A Wordy Woman's Guide for Writing a Book by [Husted, Dawn]
A Wordy Woman’s Guide for Writing a Book by Dawn Husted (Non-fiction and includes a chapter-by-chapter outline at the end)

Author Spotlight: Victor Rook

Today’s Author Spotlight is: Victor Rook

 – A PBS award-winning documentarian, a local writer with a strong sense of gallows humor, and a wildlife activist.


***

vicheadsuit

Readers, let’s welcome to my blog Victor, a PBS award-winning documentarian, a local writer with a strong sense of gallows humor, and a wildlife activist. He’s agreed to visit and share with us today some dreams, some advice, and some reading recommendations.

Victor, thanks for agreeing to be here today. Most interviews start off with bios and such, and while I’ll get to that as always, let’s start with the important stuff!

If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?

I would like to have a giant anaconda as a pet. I could feed nasty people to it and make money off the live-cam streams of their crushing demise.

But, in truth (or in addition), I’d love to have a dog. Dogs are love covered in fur.

I’m not sure whether to dub you vicious or sweet after that. Let’s move on, shall we?

What do you write and how did you get started?

I have written memoir, fiction, horror, poetry, and more…a little bit of everything. Even a craft book! Which could be my problem, since successful authors often stick to one genre and profit off a series of books.

My start was fairly unusual. One night I decided to write a funny story about how every time I visited my mother and sister, they would talk to me for five minutes then ignore me for their dogs the rest of the time. It was only about three pages, and it was the first time I had attempted to write anything since college. My degree was in Mechanical Engineering, so you can imagine there wasn’t much creative writing going on at school.

3dmusingssm

After my mother passed away in 2008, I began writing short, true stories about things that happened in my life. I compiled those memories and moments from childhood to adulthood into a book and titled it Musings of a Dysfunctional Life. I don’t think I’m personally dysfunctional, but my family surely was.

It’s a book that I feel many people can relate to. I was fully honest about everything, including family abuse. And boy was it cathartic. All those negative memories dissipated after they were put into words on a computer screen. Interspersed with those poignant moments are funny, everyday happenings I remember. Like the satanic twin babies in the checkout line (*shivers*), or how easily I become entranced in the “As seen on TV” aisles of pharmacy stores.

3Dgoodtimessm

Next, I wrote a full-length novel titled In Search of Good Times. It’s about a man who believes the sitcom families from Good Times and All in the Family are real and goes on a road trip to find them. It took me three years to write, and it’s one of my favorites. If you like road-trip books where the main character meets interesting people along the way, this book is for you.

3Dpeoplesm

My next book, People Who Need to Die, which is my best seller, is a series of satirical short horror stories where people are allowed to kill bad people in the year 2021. Bad drivers, spammers, horrible bosses, litterbugs, and mean neighbors are just a few of the many targets.

I was inspired after seeing how awful people behave in stores on Black Friday. In one short, “Black Friday Revenge,” a father, whose son was trampled to death at a mall on Black Friday, transforms an abandoned warehouse into what looks like a big-box store. He lures unsuspecting shoppers to it the following Black Friday and makes them play shopping games to survive.

Poetry Pizza, a series of easy-to-read rhyming poems, and Dollar Store Crafts & Recipes round out my other books.

Wow! You’ve definitely written a wide variety of stuff! Not penning yourself in as a this-genre or that-genre writer definitely has allowed you to follow your muse.

What do you like to read?

This may come as a shock, but I am not an avid reader. But when I do, I enjoy short stories. Since I am also a filmmaker, I feel guilty when I am not creating something myself. I am currently working on a documentary about bald eagles, which also includes writing the script narration.

In this day and age, quick reads are pretty popular. Good luck with your bald eagle documentary.

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you.

I would say focus groups that read your material for feedback. Every time I do that I seem to get mixed opinions. Some will love something, when others won’t. Because people like certain genres, and what I write may not appeal to them for that reason, I never get a clear grasp if something is working or not. So I have to go with my gut. Truthfully, though, it’s when honesty shows in your writing that I believe it also becomes more accepted and enjoyed.

Knowing what advice to listen to is hard when everyone speaks with the same authority. I keep thinking of starting up a group — but only of people who write my genre. And then I remember that I don’t have enough time for everything I’m already doing.

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that they can’t pry out of your cold, dead hands.

Oxford comma, baby. I don’t like seeing the second to the last item in a list get less respect than the items that precede it. George, Tim, Tom and Doug. Poor Tom. I just can’t let Tom down without a comma to go around.

I hear ya! (Confession: I had to fight not to correct that sentence…)

Shameless self-promotion.

All of the above. Plus:

Victor Rook’s nature film, Beyond the Garden Gate, won two Telly awards and aired on PBS. He also helps other authors with book cover design, interior formatting, editing, and publishing.

You can find him at http://victorrook.com